Egypt not happy to halt trade relations with Syria
Despite the recent Arab League's announcement to impose tough economic sanctions against the Syrian regime, it seems that some of the countries who supported the move do not intend to actually implement it. Egypt's Minister of Industry and Trade, Dr. Mahmoud Issa, has stated that his country is not going to fully halt commercial ties with Syria. The Egyptian minister explained that blocking the bilateral trade between the two countries will only cause additional suffering to the Syrian people.
According to official figures, Egypt exports goods worth some US$2 billion per year to Syria. Imports from Syria amount to about US$700 million annually.
Generally speaking, the business sectors in the various Arab states do not support the sanction against Syria, especially regarding trade activities. The existence of many Arab small and medium enterprises in and outside Syria is depended on trade with Syria. Thus, halting all trade relations with Syria will lead them to major losses or even bankruptcy.
Syrian exports to Arab countries in the last few years were estimated at US$5 to US$7 billion a year; about third of this amount goes to the Iraqi market. A total of 17% of Syrian exports are destined to neighboring Lebanon, which abstained the vote in the Arab League. Further important markets for Syrian exports are Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
In addition, doubts are being raised regarding Turkey's ability to stop its trade with Syria. Turkey announced that it would expand sanctions on Syria contemporarily with other Arab countries. Syrian exports to Turkey last year were put at US$2.5 billion. Cessation of trade with Turkey will damage badly the Syrian exports. (Source: www.yallafinance.com)